For those of you already either cringing or creaming your jeans at just a mention of the name, here are some thoughts divulged after a couple of wasted, and I do mean wasted, nights online. They do come up with interesting ways of expanding their fan base, though, don't they?
And yes, I do admit, he has supplanted Pitt. But that's beside the point.
When I first read LOTR I was 16, and read it straight through during a period where I devoured any written word. Three years later, even when giving the Trilogy the attention it deserved, such details as its own in-house mythology and the Elven tongues were skipped over, seemingly irrelevant. Since those days, I've revisted and expanded on my palette for Tolkien's works, on the average of once every other year: The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales, and other various add-ons.
So when the movie hype hit, like millions I waited on pins and needles. My first experience was arriving late with my two sons in tow, getting literally the last three tickets to a sold-out showing in our brand-spanking-new stadium-seating theatre, and you guessed it--front row. Not by choice. 178 minutes and a pounding headache later, we filed out, discussing the grotesqueness of Orcs and Uruk-Hai hatchings and why did Gandalf have to die? (I did not reveal the larger story at the time). Two teenage girls behind me were raving mad at 'the stupidest ending of a movie they'd ever seen.' Finally some guy took pity on them and intoned, "Sequel... hell-O!" Oh. The lights came on, in more than one way. Needless to say, that until the DVD came out months later, my one viewing of said feature did not leave time for drooling over any particular wood-elf. In the beginning, it was Aragorn/Viggo who caught my eye. He was much better addressed in the books, and besides, I'm usually a sucker for the dark-and-dangerous types.
I'd seen the posters, the movie-illustrated books, and had, in poring over LOTR fan sites gotten an eye-full, naturally. And for over a year, I was immune to the charms of one Orlando Bloom. Oh, yeah, the guy is beautiful, but so what? So are a lot of guys. Even owning the DVD set didn’t crack that nut.
Replay the original movie-viewing scene, a year later, kids in tow, and NOT in the front row. We had awaited this edition on a hundred times more pointed sharp objects. (Don't even get me started on this year's model). Of all the characters I'd read, Treebeard fascinated me the most, and we would have that. We would have battles, Rohanic riders, Gandalf the White, Faramir, and much more of the dual-personalities of Gollum. Do you know what I took home of that movie? Oh, yeah, all the aforementioned stuff... And Legolas/Orlando flipping through the air onto a galloping horse. What the hell? Way too old for this shit or not, I had joined the hordes of the young and brainless.
By now, I’ve had enough. More than enough. A stint of two successive nights online till all hours has proved the obvious. This Orlando person is a creature with the world’s collective beady eye on him. How can he stand it? Whether it be luck, the pretty face, or the casting couch that started it all, overkill is the word of the day in the cyber zone. Does he have any idea? I think so. At present, his name draws the most online hits of any actor/actress in the world. Is he surprised? As hard as he feigns innocence and technophobia, I doubt it. One can only be immune for so long.
There are sites beyond counting, pics beyond number; the gamut has overflowed. I’ve seen it all: Blond pointy-eared Orli, mohawked Orli, cocoa-haired Orli, blue-eyed and brown. Orli the Elf, Blackburn Orli, Aussie Victorian Orli, pirate Orli, Greek god (no shit) Orli. (What the hell kind of a name is “Orli?”) Clothed, unclothed. Clean-shaven, scruffy. British Orli, and the Americanized, sanitized version. Laughing Orli, serious Orli, Orli, Orli, Orli, Orli, Orli! Hallelujah! Can we have an “Amen” on that?
Forget the eye candy for a minute…I’ve read it all on the two sites I post to, fan-fic after fan-fic. All you need is a 'find' function: Orlando Bloom falls for his 18-year old virgin co-star. Faithful Orli; loving Orli. Orlando gets it on, on the subway, with a chick in a trench coat and a miniskirt. Nasty Orli! Orli has a three-way in NYC with two middle-aged women. Orli does his photog. Orli has a gay gang-bang with his hobbit friends. There's Orli swinging from the chandeliers; the shy and timid Orli, and the ludicrous. The desperation is tangible, online. Maybe we should call it fan-fuck. Admittedly, I did search it out. Curiosity and all that. Poor guy!
And where Orli stops, Legolas begins. The fantasy stories and artwork number no less for Legolas than for Orli himself. Everyone knows who Legolas is now. And why wouldn’t we? Thanks for the inspiration, Mr. Jackson et al. Ah, yes, Legolas in a tree, Legolas with his double-arrow trick, with his white knives, saving the fellowship members single-handedly how many times (?), getting drenched in the dark of Helm’s Deep. Forever such will be burned into millions of brains. You should see some of the wallpaper out there.**
So who is he, this waif of a Brit with a Spanish name? He goes to premier after premier, interview after interview. He speaks Elvish. He shoots ads for clothes. Everywhere, everywhere, cameras follow along, dragging in the wake of the utterly stunning but otherwise, I’m sure utterly normal young man.
Can we get an introspective Orli? I should hope so, in the midst of it. To go from being a student, then maydayed in Down Under for 15 months, to being mobbed within an inch of your life whenever you go out in public... How do people put up with that, being a STAR? To some degree, they have had to have gone looking for it. I have to wonder, what do you do after you’ve had everything?
He’s not the first by any means. He’s got Johnny and Sir Ian and Liv and Heath and whoever else to watch out for him. And a family somewhere, I’m sure. God help them all.
When the next DVD (extended, 3.75 hrs) and Part III come out, I hope and pray that the after-effects of said actor have worn off so I can go back to the business at hand, and what it started with and should have never left--the story. It's been ruined in a way, despite the pure intent of the directors. If there was a way to rid the world of the online bullshit, I would. Why am I adding to it? Because I can. Because I can remind 1000 people on a site and more on my others to look at what really matters. Read Tolkien--hell, read anything; live in his world for a time, glory in it, and then live in your own.
Can't you just smell the hypocrisy?
**wallpaper, for those who don't know: downloadable, printable online art. most of orli's is cut-and-paste from movie posters, but there are a couple of very talented, creative artists who 'get into' him. ;)